CVT & Owner of Awesome Paws Academy
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Most of our students start with obedience, want to teach tricks and learn new things. Some of our students want to go further and work on proofing into competition titles and trial environments. The two most common questions we get asked after obedience is well under way is:
What is Schutzhund? The bst answer can be found at: http://www.dvgamerica.com/whatis.html
So, most people know about Obedience. We like to teach you about "naked" obedience and how to form better bonds. But what about the other two "phases" of the sport?
Q. What is Tracking?
A. Tracking is the pursuit of a person or animal by way of following the scent (tracks) that they’ve left behind. Tracking requires the dog to meticulously follow the same scent and not run off in the many directions of other scents. Often this must also be done under less than ideal circumstances with difficult ground cover, bad weather conditions and even an aged track. Initially, you must build your dog’s confidence and teach him to show absolute accuracy and commitment to finding the track. dog must also “indicate” any dropped articles with human scent and point out their location to the handler, usually by way of downing with the article between their front paws. This confidence is usually built with food rewards in footsteps (then faded to none) and a reward at the articles (also faded with time). Despite the challenges, many find tracking to be the most satisfying experience, when only the handler and dog are working together.
Q. Why teach my dog to track?
A. Tracking can be a very rewarding experience for both you and your dog, if coached correctly. You get to nourish your dog’s amazing natural abilities and the feeling of following your dog along the trail is awesome. To get started in tracking, dog and owner - the tracking team - must be aware of goals. It’s important to remember that the dog is in control and a handler’s confidence in their dog’s ability is often the key to success. Goals vary, depending on whether you're training for Schutzhund tracking, AKC tracking, or merely for the fun and joy of free tracking. One thing to remember is that, like everything else, your dog will not learn to track overnight. Tracking takes time and effort, but the rewards are great.
Q. What is Protection Training?
A. Protection training is grossly misunderstood by the general public. A common misconception regarding protection training is associating it with attack training. This is not the case. What protection training does teach your dog is control…your dog already knows how to bite, whether you want to believe it or not. Police dog training is different from Schutzhund and Ringsport training, which is different from actual guard dog or personal protection training. A good protection helper always keeps the dogs in balance between play and seriousness. There's play and tug involved to build drive in younger dogs, and when the dog becomes more serious, there are more obedience requirements.
Q. Why teach my dog Protection?
A. Many people get into protection training for the wrong reasons. A dog who has had formal protection training is predictable, therefore an asset to his owner and to the community. This dog will be able to protect without biting, bite only if necessary and release on command. A well trained, reliable dog can serve for many years as a family protector and companion. Protection Training also has many goals. Generally, we train for Schutzhund or police work. Whatever your desired area, protection sessions must be purchased in passes for the first 10 sessions and do expire if not used right away. This is for you and your dog's safety. Your dog must learn control in many areas...which is why one or two sessions is never acceptable. Protection work takes time and patience, as every dog learns differently and at a different pace.
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